Kaiser Aluminum is an US aluminum producer founded in 1946 by American industrialist Henry J. Kaiser. Kaiser entered the aluminum business by leasing, then purchasing three government-owned aluminum facilities in Washington state. These were the primary reduction plants at Mead and Tacoma, and the rolling mill at Trentwood. Kaiser currently owns 12 fabricating plants worldwide that produces more than 400 million pounds of aluminum annually.
Kaiser’s operations in Spokane are a nostalgic look back into history when our nation’s production ramp-up during World War II was at its height. Spokane was far from the coast and safe from potential attack. Because of this fact, the government payed the bill to construct the Mead smelter on isolated land in the north-side of Spokane. For additional protection, an aluminum rolling mill was built 10 miles away in Trentwood, which is now part of Spokane Valley.
In a massive $200 million restructuring project starting as early as 2004, Kaiser reinvented itself. The Mead facility is gone, but Trentwood still stands and has the largest flat-rolled aluminum mill in the western US. The Trentwood facility today manufactures aluminum coil, plate, and sheet products for worldwide markets in aerospace, ground transportation, and other engineering industries.
ControlFreek Inc is proud to be part of this small section of history. Our projects included everything from metal temperature controls to industrial crane operations. One project in particular was a massive ingot upender that stacks the ingots on their side and pushes them through a furnace. Every step of the process had to be monitored with precise temperature controls.
Working with two local engineering firms CFI built panels for Kaiser’s flat mill crane operations and temperature controls. For the temperature control panels, CFI built a portable UL-508 certified enclosure with a dual bank of receptacles for monitoring inputs. The monitoring panel was equipped with wireless Ethernet telemetry over a secure network per Kaiser’s specifications and is monitored via a control booth that overlooks all facility operations.